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Thread: Workbench Stretcher Height

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    I would make the stretcher higher enough for a push broom to reach underneath. Much like a kitchen "toe kick" that's high enough that I can get close to the bench (around 4" off the floor).

    Regarding rapid leg vise design - check this out:

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    With the stretcher right at floor height it’s sure gonna be a pita to keep the bench stable if the floor is not perfectly flat. Shims will work fine but you know four points of contact is a heck of a lot easier to get sitting stable lever and solid.

    I can’t imagine no toe kick. I’m a cabinet maker by trade and share a floor with another shop in a old mill building. That shop made a whole kitchen with no toe kick. I dont know the story on the build but I can’t imagine a whole kitchen with no toe kick. I’d loose my mind bumping my toes.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Stretchers on my bench are 5" off floor. I built my bench relatively high at 34". Pinky test puts it at 30-31".

    I figured if need be, I will cut the legs an inch or two if I feel it high - while leaving room for sweeping and space for my foot to go. This allowed enough space above stretcher to build and install a 12" high cabinet to store planes and other tools, while leaving decent space above the cabinet.

    I would keep a minimum of 3" space below stretcher for cleaning and foot to go.

    Side note:
    I just checked and I cannot take more than a inch off legs now due to the height at which I installed criss cross leg vise. So be careful around leg vise placement.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Fairbanks AK
    I found the reference I had alluded to earlier. It is Chris Schwarz's _The workbench design book_ (c 2010).

    Only reviewer's of the book are allowed to quote brief passages without written permission. I will take this opportunity to state emphatically that Chris' book is, I think, a must have for anyone planning to build their own workbench. This $25 book is way more helpful than a $20 face vise from the home store.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Schwarz
    while flattening panels for a blanket chest {cross face grain with a scrub plane} I noticed I had my left foot wedged under the stretcher and used that foot to help pull my body back on the return stroke
    He says his stretchers are five inches off the floor. I don't know where I came up with three inches previously. I am going to fool with this some over the next few months by nailing scrap to the underside of my front stretcher and reply back here. It's on pages 247 and 248 in Chris' book.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Bellevue, WA
    One other reason to not put the stretchers at the bottom is that a high spot in the floor could keep you from leveling the bench and allow the bench to rock on that high spot.

    I haven't use the stretchers to help with planning, yet, but I find I often have my toes somewhat under the bench.

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